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Tennessee EMSC Announces Star of Life Award Recipients


NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children recognized Eastman Chemical Company Emergency Services at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards in Nashville at Rocketown on Thursday, May 14. The mission of Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children Foundation, the host of the Star of Life Awards, is to ensure that every child in Tennessee receives the best pediatric emergency care in order to eliminate the effects of severe illness and injury. The ceremony reunited the EMS personnel on stage with the patient, Carvis Harlow. The Star of Life Awards are designed to honor Tennessee’s excellent prehospital providers for their lifesaving care. The evening recognizes these crews who are on the frontlines of emergency care. The recipients for Region 1 are:

  • Captain Shannon Giles, AEMT
  • Lieutenant Jeff Lane, AEMT
  • Lieutenant Eric Kent, AEMT
  • Fire Patroller Tracy Hicks, EMT-P
  • Fire Patroller Dustin Housewright, EMT-P
  • Fire Patroller Terry Gilliam, AEMT
  • Fire Patroller John Wilber, AEMT
  • Fire Patroller Robert Jarvis, AEMT

Carvis Harlow’s life was saved when he was found unconscious and in ventricular fibrillation at Eastman Chemical Company on January 30, 2014. Each of the EMS personnel played a vital role in administering cardiac interventions and lifesaving medications, stabilizing Mr. Harlow until he was transported to Holston Valley Medical Center Emergency Department, where he received the next level of care. Eastman’s crew of EMTs and Paramedics relied on their skills, training and teamwork to provide Mr. Harlow with a chance to live another day. This is one of nine saves that have occurred since 2009 on the Eastman site. Eastman is committed to providing CPR training at no cost to their employees and, since 2012, Eastman has trained over 1,045 employees in CPR.

The award for Region 2 was given to the City of Oak Ridge Fire Department, Anderson County EMS and UT LIFESTAR at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for Region 2 are:

  • David Smallwood, Civilian Responder
  • Battalion Chief Marty Griffith, EMT-P, RN
  • Captain Eric Mocsari, EMT-P, RN
  • Firefighter Engineer Steven London, EMT-P
  • Firefighter Engineer Duane Chase, AEMT
  • Firefighter Engineer Thomas Giles, AEMT
  • Natalie Waddell, EMT-P
  • Zachary Panter, EMT-P
  • Flight Paramedic Terry Neal, EMT-P/CC
  • Flight Nurse Gary Reams, EMT-P/CC, RN
  • Jason Lewis, Pilot
  • Tim King, EMT-P
  • Fred Yahr, EMT-P

Thomas Berg experienced a sudden medical emergency while on a bicycle ride on March 30, 2014, causing him to crash in the middle of Bethel Valley Road. Immediately upon witnessing the crash, David Smallwood, who was riding with Mr. Berg, called 911 and began CPR. EMS personnel from the Oak Ridge Fire Department followed by Anderson County EMS arrived on the scene to find Mr. Berg in cardiac arrest. Mr. Berg was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by UT LIFESTAR. Today Mr. Berg has made a full recovery and is once again enjoying cycling.

The award for Region 3 was given to Bradley County EMS, Bradley County 911 & Erlanger Life Force at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for Region 3 are:

  • Sean Hennessee, EMT
  • Luke Fisher, EMT-P
  • Jeff Spence, EMT-P
  • Doug Evans, EMT-P
  • Shawn Fairbanks, EMT-P
  • Flight Nurse Heather Wilson, RN
  • Flight Paramedic Seth Gentry, EMT-P
  • Mike Ryan, Pilot
  • Brady Flynn, 911 Dispatcher

On May 7, 2014, Bradley County EMS responded to a two-vehicle crash involving multiple patients. As the scene was assessed, the crew found a 14-year-old male, Taye Cobb, unresponsive in the rear floorboard.  Bradley County EMS worked diligently to free Mr. Cobb from the vehicle and keep him stable while Life Force arrived on the scene to transport him to Erlanger.  After nearly two months of treatment and rehabilitation, Mr. Cobb finally received clearance from his doctors to return to play basketball for his high school. In the first game he played, he even scored a 3 pointer!  He has made tremendous strides and still continues to progress thanks to the EMS crews involved in his care.

The award for Region 4 was given to Putnam County EMS, Putnam County 911 and the Cookeville Fire Department at the Seventh Annual Star of Life. The recipients for Region 4 are:

  • Alissa Crouch, Civilian Responder
  • David Thompson, AEMT
  • Esther Gottfried, EMT-P
  • Phillip Harris, EMD
  • T.J. Landers, EMD
  • Jason Bohannon, EMD
  • Matt Bathke, EMT-P
  • Travis Fansler, AEMT
  • Wayne McClain, EMT

On September 18, 2014 Glen Russell was discovered, unconscious, in a store aisle at the Cookeville Lowe’s. Alissa Crouch, a nursing student who just weeks earlier had completed CPR training, came across Mr. Russell and began administering CPR. 911 was called and within minutes the Cookeville Fire Department arrived and Putnam County EMS. The crews worked together to administer an electrical shock to his heart, start an IV and give him the necessary resuscitation medications. The EMS’ treatments and early recognition of Mr. Russell’s ventricular fibrillation kept him alive and allowed him to ultimately receive a stent in his heart at Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

The award for Region 5 was given to the Nashville Fire Department and Stratford High School at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for Region 5 are:

  • Jeff Davis, Stratford High School Assistant Principal
  • Sonja Crews, Campus Security Supervisor
  • Joanne Stroud, Education Bus Attendant
  • Captain Dale Pickens, EMT
  • Firefighter/Engineer Scott High, EMT
  • Firefighter Robby Lee, AEMT
  • Firefighter Natalie Rottarr, AEMT
  • Michael Sisk, EMT-P

On December 3, 2014, while waiting to get on her school bus, Stratford High School student Kennedy Kistner suddenly began having a seizure, which very rapidly progressed into full cardiac arrest. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Jeff Davis, JoAnne Stroud and Sonja Crews quickly sprang into action. Using the training they had received, they immediately began CPR and called 911. Nashville Fire Department Engine 18 and Medic 18 arrived at the scene. Due to the quick actions of the school officials, the crews found a viable patient when they arrived at the scene. As Ms. Kistner was still in full arrest, CPR was continued. She was shocked three times, received breathing assistance with a bag valve mask and had an IV started with the proper drug therapy. She was quickly transported to TriStar Skyline Medical Center and has made a full recovery.

The award for Region 6 was given to Giles County EMS, Giles County 911, Air Evac Lifeteam Base #110 & the Frito Lay Safety Team at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for Region 6 are:

  • Director Roy Griggs, EMT-P
  • Shawn Wroda, EMT-P
  • John Dollar, AEMT
  • Supervisor Danny Hardy, EMT-P
  • Dr. Joe Fite, Medical Director
  • Flight Paramedic Dustin Boman, EMT-P
  • Flight Nurse Leah Robinson, RN
  • Leanne Grissom
  • Jeremy Davis, Pilot
  • Program Director Jon Guthrie
  • Wade Marston, 911 Dispatcher
  • Sharon Fogg, Safety Team Member
  • Allan Shedd, Safety Team Member
  • Lee Edwards, Safety Team Member

On March 5, 2014 James Adams was found slumped over his chair at the Pulaski Frito Lay Plant. When Giles County EMS arrived on the scene they found the Frito Lay Safety Team administering electrical shocks to his heart and performing CPR to keep Mr. Adams alive. With the life-saving efforts of the EMS crew, Mr. Adams regained a pulse and was transported to Huntsville Hospital.  The Pulaski newspaper went on to quote Mr. Adams’ wife Terri as saying, “If not for them, I’d be a widow”. 

The award for Region 8 was given to American Medical Response, Arlington Fire Department, Shelby County Fire Department and The Hospital Wing at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for Region 8 are:

  • Lieutenant Danny Spry, EMT                                                      
  • Driver Derry Cook, EMT
  • Firefighter Darrell Abrams, EMT                                  
  • Firefighter Todd Highfill, EMT-P
  • Firefighter Tammy Baskin, EMT                                    
  • Lieutenant Jeremy Havlik,  EMT
  • Driver Earl Laughlin, EMT-P                                                
  • Firefighter Jamie Allen, EMT
  • Firefighter Matt Doyle, EMT-P                                              
  • Firefighter Jason Spry, EMT
  • Lieutenant Jeremy Hester, EMT                                                  
  • Driver Ryan White, EMT
  • Firefighter Chad Wyatt, EMT                                          
  • Firefighter Wes Carpenter, EMT
  • Robert Montgomery, EMT-P                                                             
  • Matt Griffith, AEMT
  • Flight Nurse Cindy Bailey, RN, BSN, CEN, NREMT                        
  • Richard Smith, Pilot
  • Flight Nurse Heather Kelley, RN, BSN, CEN, CFRN, NREMT

On January 9, 2014 Rachel Hensley was driving on the road she had driven numerous times before when she lost control of her vehicle. When the EMS personnel pulled up, they were astonished by the mangled mess that was once Ms. Hensley’s car. She was awake and alert, but her skin color was becoming pale and she was complaining of abdominal pain. After the 55-minute extrication, Ms. Hensley was safely pulled from the vehicle, placed on a spineboard and transported to a landing site where the Hospital Wing was awaiting her arrival. Ms. Hensley was loaded into the helicopter and flown to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center. Amazingly, she walked away with only memories of the men and women who saved her life that day.

The Tennessee Star of Life State Award has been renamed the Dr. Michael Carr State Star of Life Award. The ceremony honored nearly 100 of Tennessee’s EMS personnel for their exceptional, lifesaving work during the 2014 calendar year. The mission of the TN EMSC Foundation, the host of the EMS Star of Life, is to ensure that every child in Tennessee receives the best pediatric emergency care in order to eliminate the effects of severe illness and injury.

“Dr. Carr has been a tremendous asset to the EMSC program since its inception more than 20 years ago,” said Rhonda G. Phillippi, TN EMSC Foundation Executive Director. “Renaming the Star of Life Award after Dr. Carr is a small token of our appreciation for his dedication to advancing pediatric care in Tennessee.”

Dr. Carr was the principal investigator on Tennessee’s original EMSC grant and provided leadership in collaborating with the Tennessee legislature to achieve passage of the original EMSC legislation in Tennessee.  In 2009, Dr. Carr was the recipient of a National EMSC Hero’s Award for his longstanding commitment and dedication to the mission of EMSC.  Dr. Carr continues to serve on both the TN EMSC Foundation Board and the Tennessee Department of Health’s Committee on Pediatric Emergency Care providing leadership and guidance.

The Tennessee Star of Life State Award was given to Grundy Emergency Medical Services, Beersheba Springs Fire & Rescue, Air Evac Lifeteam, Coffee County & Mountain Central E911 Dispatch Center at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards. The recipients for the state award are:

  • Director Don Hutcheson, EMT-P                                                                          
  • Daniel Scruggs, AEMT
  • Greg Shadwick, EMT-P                                                                             
  • Jacob M. Anderson, EMT-IV
  • Julie Ward RN, CEN, EMT-IV                          
  • Flight Paramedic Timothy Ball, CCEMT-P, NREMT-P
  • Flight Nurse Melissa Perry, RN, CEN, EMT-IV                           
  • Marty Sampley, NCIC, TIES, NLETS
  • Wanda McDaniel, EMD, PSC, NCIC, TIES, NLETS, TIBRS                                
  • Chief Jackie Eubanks
  • Roger Morgan, NCIC, TIES, NLETS                                                                
  • Firefighter Jason Walker
  • Chief David Whitman                                                                                         
  • Firefighter Robert Norris 
  • Firefighter Alton Scruggs, Chaplain                                                                      
  • Firefighter Ed Fults, Jr       
  • Firefighter Jonathan Tate                                                                                    
  • Firefighter Michael King      
  • Firefighter Michael Kirby, Jr                                                                                  
  • Robert Whitaker, Pilot              

On July 4, 2014 Tom Surface was hiking with his friends and wife when he decided to head back to their cabin in Beersheba Springs. While on his way back on a strenuous hike, alone, he began suffering a heart attack. Frightened and alone he received help from a passerby who stayed with him until help could arrive. Mr. Surface called the men and women who played a role in getting him lifted up the ridge he was hiking and to safety, “his angels.” The physical effort of the extrication, the mental demands under extreme stress and the emotional comfort continually provided to Mr. Surface were all a part of naming these crews as the recipients of the 2015 Dr. Michael Carr State Star of Life State Award.

The 2015 Star of Life Star Partners were Air Evac Lifeteam and Erlanger Children’s Hospital and Erlanger Health Systems.

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